Whether you’re dreading the commotion and bustle of the holiday season or simply hate the shorter days and colder weather of winter, sometimes you need a little help to make it through the day. Here are some tips to make it through the winter and help you become healthier in the process. Winter months can cause depression, stemming from the shorter hours of sunlight. Just because you live in sunny Florida, it doesn’t exclude you from Seasonal Affective Disorder, often just called SAD. It’s a condition that interferes with your internal clock causing symptoms of depression, anxiety and low energy.
It may not be all about the sunlight, there are other factors to consider.
It’s colder outside, even though it may not be sub zero temperatures like in the north, that doesn’t mean that temperatures in the 30s and 40s is comfortable. It makes you want to stay inside, under the covers. The holidays have ended and you may find your bank account is almost gone too. You’ve maxed out on the holiday treats and now have sugar cravings and a tin filled with Aunt Mae’s special cookies. Heck, even the fruit cake is starting to look good. So many things can contribute to the holiday and post holiday blahs.
Start by creating a schedule.
Give yourself some structure to help you keep on going, especially on the weekends. It’s easy to veg out and binge watch Netflix, but to avoid that, have a few tasks ready to complete before you start. Begin each day with a quick workout. It doesn’t have to be part of your normal workout, just a jumpstart for the day. Try the four minute nitric oxide dump created by Dr. Zach Bush or other quick routine to get your blood flowing, like a quick series of lunges and squats. Have a list of at least three to four simple tasks to do around the house. You’ll find you feel better almost immediately.
What you eat certainly makes a huge difference, just as what you drink does. Cut out the alcoholic drinks and increase your water intake. Often people don’t feel thirsty in the winter, so they get dehydrated more easily. Cut out sugar. It may boost your energy initially, but it dips you down to a valley quickly. Add foods that help boost your mood like, tree nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, avocados or fatty fish that are high in healthy fat that’s necessary to avoid depression. Avoid sugar, but if you get an urge for something sweet, choose fresh fruit. Apple slices with cashew or other nut butter is an amazing energy boost, while also satisfying a sweet tooth.
- Sleeping too much is just as bad as sleeping too little. Try to get at least seven to eight hours and get to bed and up on a regular schedule.
- Spend time with friends. This can be especially difficult, especially if friends and family are traveling or if you’ve recently had a change of status, like a divorce or death of a spouse. Try joining a new group with an activity you enjoy, if it’s one that’s active, that’s even better.
- Stick with water and avoid alcohol. It acts as a depressant and makes everything seem worse.
- Count your blessings. Too often people dwell on losses, but fail to see all the blessings they have. Every day write down something good that happened or something you’re thankful for and put that message in a jar. When you’re feeling low, read those messages to yourself.